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• Make sure your climbing roses are securely tied into position. Prune them after they bloom.
• Deadhead the developing seed pods from your rhododendrons and azaleas to improve next year’s bloom. Be careful not to damage next year’s buds, which may be hidden just below the pod.
• Keep watch for damage caused by the four-lined plant bug, especially on plants in the mint family.
• Give special attention to fertilizing and watering containers and hanging baskets. Soil in containers dries out quickly, so check daily.
• When mowing and trimming weeds around trees, be careful not to make contact with the trees. Wounds created from lawn mowers and string trimmers allow borers and other insects to enter and become a problem. This is especially true for dogwoods, flowering peach, plum, and cherry trees.
• Give your compost a turn.
• Fertilize roses at bud break, then each month during the growing season, or according to the package directions. Don’t fertilize roses after August 1. Fertilizing too late in the season makes the plant less winter hardy.
• Give newly planted perennials 1 inch of water a week during the growing season, either from rain or through irrigation.
• Garlic is a shallow-rooted plant, so water regularly (but not so much that the soil stays muddy) to ensure proper bulb development. If young plants don’t get enough water, they’ll become stressed and produce small bulbs prematurely.
• Most tulips and hyacinths last only two to three years. Dig up and discard tulip and hyacinth bulbs that send up spindly leaves and stalks and few flowers.
• Prune spring-blooming shrubs and trees, such as lilacs, forsythia, and crabapples, as soon as possible after bloom.
• Inspect your irrigation system for damaged sprinkler heads, which waste water. Replace as needed.
• Pick vegetables often, even if you don’t plan to use them immediately. Vegetables that aren’t harvested soon enough will produce a chemical that inhibits further blossoming.
• Paint tree trunks with a light-colored indoor latex paint to prevent sunburn damage, which invites borers and fungus infections. Use an inexpensive brand, or thin down a more expensive one to a solution of half water and half paint.
• Keep melon plants growing strongly throughout the season for best quality fruit. Almost half of a melon’s final sugar content develops during the last week of maturation, so stop irrigating then to concentrate the sugars.